History may be against Shannara in this afternoon’s 2012 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap in Sydney, but trainer Peter Snowden remains confident the conditions of the clash will suit his mare.
A full-sister to 11 time Group 1 hero Lonhro, five-year-old Octagonal mare Shannara is one of 13 gallopers remaining in contention for the $125,000 Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) following the scratching of early favourite #4 Fast Clip.
Drawn in barrier 11, into 10, with Joshua Parr to ride Shannara is out to break the hoodoo of female racehorses in the race as the only Newcastle Newmarket Handicap winning mare since 1991 was Techinques in 1999.
Barrier statistics are also against her today with barriers one to four producing five of the past 10 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap winners.
Shannara races for the first time since her smart two and a half length victory over Title in the Listed Ladies Day Cup (1300m) at Hawkesbury back in early November and while she has never won first-up Snowden hopes that will change today.
“She’s coming up very well, the best she’s been,” Snowden said.
“She’s much stronger than before and I’m very happy with the way she’s done in her work.
“She’s just a stronger mare all over.”
The 1400-metres looks ideal for her, Shannara having won the Listed Dark Jewel Classic at Scone over the distance last May.
She has also twice ran a close second over 1400m first beaten a short half-head by Happy Hippy in the Listed HB Carr Stakes at Randwick in April 2010 and then behind Lovemelikerock in the Listed Angst Stakes at the same track that October.
In fact Shannara’s only bad run over 1400m was her ninth to Little Surfer Girl in last year’s Angst Stakes when she encountered an unsuitable Slow track.
“She’s quite forward for this race and the 1400-metres at Newcastle gives her the chance to run home,” Snowden said.
One thing that does have Snowden worried is the possible slow race tempo and the chance of a sit and sprint showdown.
“It’s a pretty solid race but the lack of tempo worries me a bit with Shannara,” Snowden said.
The horse Snowden most fears is the $3.80 bookmaker.com.au top elect He’s Remarkable, Roger James’ Kiwi visitor drawn in barrier five with Corey Brown to ride.
“He’s Remarkable races on the speed and looks the hardest to beat,” Snowden said.
“He’s drawn to get the right run.
“But Shannara is fit and well, her work has been good and she’s trialled quite nicely.”
Following today’s run Snowden is eying off the $175,000 Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 28 as the main autumn aim for Shannara.
“Shannara’s only lightly raced and has got better with age,” he said.
“There is no rush to send her to stud and if her form warrants it, she might keep racing for another season.”
Snowden will also be represented in this afternoon’s clash by #13 Adrolity, but out wide in barrier 12 the $51 bookmaker.com.au roughie is likely to be outclassed.
Think Shannara could beat home the boys this afternoon? Fancy the market mover He’s Remarkable to atone for their Railway loss? Or is it $41 roughie Straight Albert you are tipping for an upset?
Whatever your Newcastle Newmarket Handicap tips and selections are you are guaranteed to get the best prices for your selections online at bookmaker.com.au.